Patent Office Tie

A few years ago I spoke to a group of patent librarians who were at the patent office for a training seminar. Three things horrified me when I checked in and opened an otherwise innocent looking manila envelope. The first was the attendees list showing the number of people that I’d be speaking to. I knew roughly how many patent libraries there are but I hadn’t thought that more than one librarian per library would be attending from some of the libraries. The second thing was agenda showing that I would be the fourth and final speaker on the fourth and final day of the seminar. I had a deck of slides to present to people who would likely be powerpointed out by the time I would begin speaking. The third thing was a coupon for 15% off at the patent office’s gift shop. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound scary but it foiled my best laid plan. You see I thought I was beyond cleaver when I found a neck tie on ebay that had patents on it, but there in everyone’s packet was a coupon showing the very same tie! What are the odds of that? Clearly I could not wear that tie. People would think that I was uncreative, unprepared and worse of all, a cheap sake.

Luckily I was prepared and wore my backup tie that showed antique airplanes flying over a map making it look vaguely like mechanical drawings. Not even close on the appropriateness scale but no one could accuse me of being uncreative, unprepared or cheap. The really funny part was that in preparing for my speech I tried to find some of the patents on the tie, so I could incorporate them as examples in my speech. I tried, I mean I really tried in a pull-out-all-the-stops kind of way using every trick I knew, but I failed to find a single one of the “patents” on the tie. So there you have it in full exposé mode, the truth that couldn’t be suppressed; the patent office’s gift shop sells a tie with fake patents on it! If only I had Geraldo’s number…

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